Hagel, who was on the other side of congressional hearing rooms for 12 years as a senator, was roughed up rhetorically during his 8-hour confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January.
He faced heated questioning throughout that hearing, and was pummeled by Republicans in the weeks that followed over several of his answers.
The new Defense secretary will go back before the Senate Armed Services Committee for the first time since his confirmation next week.
He said Thursday that he expected things would be more collegial.
“That was years ago,” Hagel said. “So I think next week will be just like this hearing.”